1265-1321 Dante Alighieri.

The Vision : or, Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, of Dante Alighieri online

. (page 37 of 37)
Online Library1265-1321 Dante AlighieriThe Vision : or, Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, of Dante Alighieri → online text (page 37 of 37)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

mentis in jiromptu esse non dubito ipsum fuisse quod Deus est, videlicet
Kl." St. Isidore in the Origiues, I. vii. c. 1. had said, " Primum apud
Hebr.Tos Dei nomen El dicitur."

V. 135. Use.] From Horace, Ars. Poet. 62.

V. 138. All my life.] " I remained in the terrestrial Paradise only to
the seventh hour." In the Historia Scolastica of Petrus Comestor, it is
said of our first parents : Quidam tradunt eos fuisse in Paradise septeni
boras." t. 9. ed. Par. 1513. 4to.

V. 10. Four torches.] St. Peter, St. James, St. John, and Adam.

418 NOTES.

V. 11. Th'it.] St. Pctor, wlio l(ii)kofl :is tlio planet Jupiter would, if it
assumed the siuiLMiiiic :ip|)o;iniiico ol Mars
V. 20. lie] Bi)iiifaL-c VIII.
V. 25. Hack colour.]

Qui color infectis adversi solis ub ictu
Nubibiis esse solet; aut purpuroie Aiironc.

Ovid, Met. 1. iii. 184. ;

V. 37. Of Linus and of Clelus.] Bishops of Rome in the first cen-

V. 40. Did Se.xtus, Pius, and Callixtus bleed,
And I'vhan.]
The former two, hisltops of the same see, in the second; aiid the otlicrs,
in the fourth century. ,

V. 42. Xo pnrpose icasoforirs.] " We did not intend that our succcs- ;
Bors should take any part in the political divisions anions Cliristiaiis; or >
that my liuuro (tlie seal of St. Peter) should serve as a mark to authorise '
ini(luitous L;raiiis and privilctccs."

V. 51. Wolocs.] Compare Milton, P. L. b. xii. 508, &c.

V. 5;?. Calwrshira and Gascons.] He alludes to ,Iac(p\os d'Ossa, a na- \
tivo of Cahors, who filled the i)ai)al chair in loKi, after it luid been two \
years vacant, and assumed the name of .John XXII., and to Clement V., I
a Gascon, of whom see Hell, Canto XIX. 8(i, and Xote. i

V. ()3. The she-rioat.] When the sun is in Capricorn. j

V. 72. From tlic hour.] Since he had last looked (see Canto XXII.), 1
he perceived that he had passed from tlie meridian circle to the eastern j
horizon, the half of our hemisphere, and a rpiarter of the he.aven. •

V. 7(5. From Gades.] See Hell, Canto XXVI. 106.

V. 78. The shore.] Phcunicia, where Europa, the daughter of Agcnor,
mounted on the back of Jupiter, in his shajie of a bull. '

V. 80. The sun.] Dante was in the constellation Gemini, and the sun 1
in Aries. There was, therefore, part of those two con.stellations, and the |
whole of Taurus, between them.

V. 93. The fair nest of Leda.] "From the Gemini; " thus called, be-
cause Leda was the mother of the twins, Castor and Pollu.v.

V. 112. Time's roots.] "Hero," says Beatrice, "are the roots, from
whence time springs: for the parts, into which it is di\ided, tlie other j
heavens must be considered." And she then breaks out into an excia- i
mation on the degeneracy of human nature, which does not lift itself to t
the contemplation of divine things. '

V. 126. The fair child of him.] So she calls human nature. Pindar,
by a more easy figure, terms the day, " child of the sun : "

naiO 'AAiou. 01. ii. .59.

V. 129. None.] Because, as has been before said, the shepherds are ■
become wolves.

V. 131. Before the date .] "Before many ages are past; before those '

fractions, which are dropt in the reckoning of every year, shall amount ;

to so large a portion of time, that January shall be no moie a winter j

month." By this iieriphrasis is meant " in a short time; "as wc say i

familiarly, such a thing will hai>|ien before a thousand years are over, j

when we mean, it will haiiiicn soon. f

V. 135. Fortune shall bo fain.] The commentators, in general, siip-
IHJse that our Poet here augurs that great reform, whicli he vainly hoped

-=-^-^^"wrai 1 1

rAKADlSE. 449

would follow on the arrival of the Emperor Henry VII. in Italy. Lom-
bardi refers the ijrognostication to Can Grande della Scala : and, when
we consider thai tliis Canto was not finished till after the deatli of Henry,
as appears from the mention tliat is made of John XXII.. it cannot ba
denied but the conjecture is probable.


V. 36. Ileav' 71, and all nature, hangs npon tliat point.'] «« Toeou'iTjs apa
"PX'Js WTiTai 6 oiipaj'bs (cai ij (^ucris. Aristot. Metapli . 1. xii. c. 7. "From
that beginning depend heaven and nature."

V. 43. Such diff'rencc.'} Tlie material world and the intelligential
(the copy and the pattern) appear to Dante to differ in tins respect, tliat
the orbits of the latter are more swift, the nearer they are to the centre,
whereas the contrary is the case with the orbits of the former. Tlie seeming
contradiction is thus accounted for by Beatrice. In the material world,
the more ami)le the body is, the greater is the good of which it is
capable, supposing all the parts to be equally perfect. But in the iiiteb
ligeutial world, the circles are more excellent and powerful, the more
they ajjproximate to the central point, which is God. Thus the fii'st
circle, that of the seraphim, corresponds to the ninth sphere, or primum
mobile; the second, that of the cherubim, to the eighth sphere, or heaven
of fixed stars; the third, or circle of thrones, to the seventh sphere, or
planet of Satu'-n ; and in like manner throughout the two other trines of
circles and spheres.

In orbs
Of circuit inexpressible they stood,
Orb within orb.

3mton, P. L. b. V. 596.

V. 70. Tliestiirdij north.'] Compare Homer, II. b. v. 524.

V. 82. In number.] The sparkles exceeded the number which would
be produced by the sixty-four squares of a chess-board, if for the first
we reckoned one; for the next, two; for the third, four; and so went on
doubling to the end of the account.

V. 106. Fearless of bnimnr/ from the nif/htly ram.] Not injured, like
the productions of our spring, by the influence of autumn, when the con-
Btellation Aries rises at sunset.

V. 110. Do7niiiations.]

Hear all ye angels, progeny of light,

Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers.

31ilton, P.L.h. v. 601.

V. 119. Dionysius.] The Areopagite, in his book De Ccelesti Hier-

V. 124. Gregory.] Gregory the Great. "Novem vero angelorum
ordines dixinuis; quia videlicet esse, testante sacro eloquio, scimus:
Augelos, archangelos, virtutes, potestates, principatus, dominationos,
thronos, cherubin atque seraphin." Divi Gregorii, Horn, xxxiv. f. 125.
ed. Par. 1518. fol.

V. 126. He had learnt.] Dionysius, he says, had learnt from St. Paul.
It is almost unnecessary to add, that the book, above referred to, which
goes under his name, was the production of a later age.



450 NOTES.


V. 1. No lon.ffer.'] As short a space, as tho sun and moon are in cliang-

inj; licmisplicros, when tliey arc opposite to one anotlier, the one under
the sij,'n of Aries, iuul the other under that of Lihni, and both han^ for a
nioniont, jjoised as it were in tlie liand of the zenith.

V. 122. /b?", luit ill process of before or aft.] Tlicre was neitlicr " before
nor after," no distinction, tliat is, of time, till the creation of the woi'ld.

V. oO. His threefold operation.] He seems to mean that spiritual
beings, brute matter, and the intermediate part of the creation, which
participates b(jth of spirit and matter, were |)rodiiccd at once.

V. ;W. On Jerome's ;)«,7c.v.] St. Jerome had described the an.t;els as
created beforc the rest of the universe: an opinion whii'h 'I'liomas
Aquinas controverted; and the latter, as Dante thiidis, had Scriiituro on
his side. |

V. 57. Pent] See Hell, Canto XXXIV. 105.

V. 111. Of Hindi and of Lapi.] Coramou names of men at Florence.

V. 112. 27ie shcejx] So Milton, Lycidas. j

The hungry sheep look up and are not fed,

But, swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw,

Rot inwardly.

V. 121. The preacher."] Thus Cowper, Task, b. ii.

'Tis pitiful
To court a grin, when you should woo a soul, &c.

V. 131. Scant Anthomj

Fattens loith this his sivine.]

On the sale of these blessings, the brothers of St. Anthony snpi)orted
themselves and their paramours. From behind the swine of St. Anthony,
our Poet levels a blow at the object of his inveterate enmity, Boniface
VIII., from whom, "in 1297, they obtained the dignity and privileges of
an indejiendeut congregation." See Mosheim's Eccles. History in Dr.
Maclaine's Translation, v. ii. cent. xi. p. 2. c. 2. § 28.

V. 140. Daniel.] " Thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten
thousand times ten thousand stood before him." Dan c. vii. 10.


V. 1. Six thousand miles.] He compares the vanishing of the vision to

the fading away of the stars at dawn, when it is noon-day .six thousand J

miles off, and the shadow, formed by the earth over the part of it in- j

habited by the Poet, is about to disappear. ]

V. 13. Engirt.] " Appearing to be encompassed by these angelic bands, |

which are in reality encomi)assed by it.'' i

V. 18. This turn.] Questa vice. j

Hence perhaps Milton, P. L. b. viii. 491. I

This turn hath made amends.

V. 39. Forth.] From the ninth sphere to the empyrean, wliich i« mere


V. 44. Either mujhly host.'] Of angels, that remained faithful, and of
beatified souls; the latter iu that form which they will have at the last

V. Gl. Light flounnr/.] " And he shewed me a pure river of water of
life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the
Lamb." Rev. c. xxii. 1.

underneath a bright sea flow'd

Of jasper, or of liquid pearl.

Milton, P. L. b. iii. 518,

V. 80. Shadoivy of the truth.]

Son di lor vero ombriferi prefazii.

So Mr. Coleridge, iu his Religious Musings, v. 40G.

Life is a vision shadowy of truth.

V. 88. the eves

Of mine eyelids.]

Thus Shakspeare calls the eyelids " peutliouse lids." Macbetli, a.
1. s. 3.
V. 108. As some cliff.]

A lake.
That to the fringed bank with myrtle crown'd
Her crystal mirror holds.

3Iilton, P. L. b. iv. 263.
V. 118. My view ivith ease.]

Far and wide his eye commands;
For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade.
But ail sun-shine.

Milton, P. L. b. iii. GIG.

V. 135. Of the great Harry.] The Emperor Henry VII. who died iu
V. 141. He.] Pope Clement V. See Canto XXVII. 53.
V. 145. Alagna's }oricst.] Pope Boniface VIII. Hell, Canto XIX. 79.


V. 6. Bees.] Compare Homer, Iliad, ii. 87. Virg. JEn. i. 430, and Mil-
ton, P. L. b. 1. 7G8.

V. 29. Helice.] Callisto, and her son Areas, changed into tlie constelhi'
tions of the Greater Bear and Arctophylax, or Bootes. Sec Ovid, INIet. 1.
ii. fal). V. vi.

V. 93. Bernard.] St. Bernard, the venerable abbot of Clairvaiix. :ind
the great promoter of the second crusade, who died a.d. 115.'!, in his
sixty-third year. His sermons are called by Honaiilt, " chefs-dVruvres
do sentiment ct de force." Abrege Ciiron. do I'Hist. de Fi'. ll-S.'i. 'I'lipy
have even been preferred to all the in'oductions of the ancients, and tlie
author has been termed the last of the fathers of the churcli. It is un-
certain whether they were not delivered originally in the French tongue.

That tlie part he acts in the present Poem should be assigned to him,
appears somewhat remarkable, when we consider that he severely ceu-

452 NOTES.

[ tured tlic new festival established in honour of the Immaculate Concep-

tion of the Vii'sin. and " opjiosed the doctiine itself with the greatest
vigonr, as it siii)i)osod her heing honoured witli a privilege wiiich belonged
so Christ alone." Dr. ]\laclaine's Mosheini, v. iii. cent. xii. p. ii. i. ;5. §"i<).

V. 'J5. Our Veronica.] The holy handkerchief, then i)reservcd at
Rome, o!i which tho couuteuance of our Saviour was supposed to have
been imprest.

V. 101. ///Hi.] St. Bernard.

V. 108. The queen.'] The Virgin Mary.

V. 111). Orijlumb.] Menage on this word quotes the Roman des Royaua
Liguages of Guillaume Ghyart.

Oriflamme est une banniere
De cendal roujoyant et simple
Sans portraiture' d'autre affaire.

CANTO xxxir.

V. 3. She.] Eve.

V. 8. Ancestress.] Ruth, the ancestress of David.

V. 60. In holy scriptwe.] Gen. c. xxv. 22.

V. 123. Lucia.] See Hell, Canto U. 97.


V. 63. TJie Sybil's sentejice.] Virg. ^n. iii. 445.

V. 89. One mo7nent.] "A moment seems to me more tedious, tnan
five-and-twenty ages would have appeared to the Argonauts, when tliev
bad resolved on their expedition."

v. 92. Argd's shadoio.]

Qure siraul ac rostro ventosura proscidit a?quor,
Tortaque remigio spuniis Incanduit unda,
Emersere feri candenti e gurgite vultus
.ffiquoreai monstrum Nereides admirantes.

Catullus, De Nupt. Pel. et Thet. 15.

V. 109. Tliree orbs of triple hue, dipt in one bomid.] The Trinity.
V. 118. That circling.] The second of the circles, " Light of Light," in
which he dimly beheld the mystery of the iucaruatiou.



CENTRAL UNIVEB ^^ 000 913)44 2

University of Califoima, uoiv uiego



JUN 30 ly/.

JU N4 «£CT ^;

CI 39

UCSD Libr.

Online Library1265-1321 Dante AlighieriThe Vision : or, Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, of Dante Alighieri → online text (page 37 of 37)